I would like to thank all the help I received for my Alternative Victorian House Tour last weekend.  Many friends and neighbors made homemade cookies and cucumber sandwiches which really added to the festivities.  In particular, I would love to thank Linda (the owner of Cabin Fever Bed and Breakfast) whom I’ve known for years and is a dear friend and Ethelyn my neighbor.  I was killing myself laughing at/with them.  Here’s a snippet of one of their conversations.  Linda “I was at Phibbs taking pictures on Tuesday” and Ethelyn said “I was also there, what time were you their?”  Linda “10:30” and Ethelyn, “So was I”.  Linda “I had an excellent lunch there again”  Ethelyn, “What did you have?”  Linda “Pulled pork sandwich”  Ethelyn “So did I, what time” Linda “About 12:30”  Ethelyn “So did I and I didn’t see you”.  I chimed in “You two hadn’t met yet”  🙂  Then Ethelyn started talking about her African Gray Parrots, I remember when I first moved here meeting a woman with a parrot on her shoulder walking around the neighborhood.  As Ethelyn told her parrot stories, Linda kept saying that she should write a book.  Ethelyn had us both falling out of our chairs laughing.

Although we didn’t make the $1,000 goal I had set, we did raise a significant amount.  Something nice was people would come in and not pay the $5 cover, but hand us a $20 and not want change.  People were very generous and I love to see niceness.   

I told you that the neighborhood association wanted to put my home on their house tour and I said I would agree if they made a $1,000 belated donation to the food pantry, they said no and offered to run a fund raiser and I said no to that.  At that final tour committee meeting, one of the members threatened to take his house off the tour if the other committee members forced the issue of donating $1,000 to the food pantry.  Oh grow up, I’m sure you heard about the little boy that didn’t get his way so he took his ball and went home. 

In addition to the coffee/tea shop that opened across the street from me about a week ago, the wine bar’s grand opening is this weekend.  On over in the War Streets neighborhood Mayfly Market & Deli just opened at 1327 Arch Street less than a block from Randyland.  A cute little neighborhood store with a nice selection of staples, Ann Gilliagan’s famous sorbets and many other works by local artists.  Also, this past weekend the wine bar just down the block had their Grand Opening, Juan & Cecilia were overly impressed with the strong turn out.  It was great, next time you’re here, you need to check it out.  🙂

I had some terror moments here at The Parador Inn last week.  Ester my squirrel was outside my window eating peanuts as I was working at my desk.  I finished my project shortly there after and when I opened the office door to go back to the mansion a hawk was having lunch right outside my door.  It quickly picked up it’s prey and flew off.  My first though was I had lost my dear Ester.  ):  Then I looked at the crime scene and didn’t see any squirrel fur, just pigeon feathers.  I feel bad for the pigeon, but super happy Ester is still with us.

Da gerl had her final check up on her ACL, and she’s in good shape, there is still a small break in the bone and the vet said to just keep her from over exerting herself.  That should be fully healed by the summer.  She’s free to go on walks with her dad and big brother, she’s truly a happy camper.

Word Press changed the program, they seem to be trying to force us to buy the upgraded version.  This is it for today, have a great weekend,  My web guy Nick reverted it back to the Word Press Classic version and I’m doing better.

Did you see the Steelers on Sunday?  Damn they sure can play football when they show up.  🙂

Have a great one,


A little different thing to do for Christmas is the Etna Scare house is hosting a Christmas Scare House.    It is December 7 & 8 and cost $20.

Another something different is the pop up bar on Liberty, it is the Miracle on Liberty, they don’t have a website, but operate under their face book page.  It doesn’t say it on the face book their location which is 705 Liberty, it’s their second year and the benefit of the pop up is Pittsburgh Food Rescue and more details are in Pittsburgh Magazine.

Vietnam veteran Stanley Stoltz passed away with no known family, so the funeral home posted a notice asking people to show up at the burial.  Hundreds showed up and gave Stanley a proper send off.

What’s ya doing this weekend?  The Parador is hosting an Alternative Victorian House Tour from 4 – 8 Friday and 11 –  4 then 5 – 8 on Saturday.  $5 cash donation and all proceeds goes to the local food pantry.  I am doing this mainly to support the food pantry, the neighbor hood association in 2009 had a presentation and then request from food pantry for a one time $1,000 donation from all 17 Northside neighborhoods to help fill their shelves during the great recession and the neighborhood association refused and has refused since then to support the food pantry.  As I told the association back then, in my world “little children should not go to be hungry.  I don’t know what world you live in”.  My comments were not well received back then.  They approached me this year and wanted me to let them use my home for their Victorian House tour and I said yes, but I want a $1,000 donation to the food pantry and they said no.  So I’m running my own “house tour”, please stop by and assist so little kids don’t go to bed hungry this holiday and winter season.  I could still use a couple of volunteers for the Saturday shifts, if you are available, call my cell 412-508-6000.

Speaking of hungry kids, just when I thought I couldn’t me more impressed with John & Giselle Fetterman (our new Lieutenant Governor).  Giselle started 412 Food Rescue, it’s an app she developed with some very tech savvy friends.  412 Food Rescue is an app that they developed to keep food out of the garbage stream and feed people that are food insecure.  The concept of 412 Food Rescue is based on diverting good food that would normally end up in the garbage stream because the quantity is not large enough for the “big guys” like the food pantry to bother with.  The food pantry will send it’s trucks to grocery store chains when the grocery chain realizes for example a delivery of lettuce will not last for them to sell.  So the food pantry sends a truck to pick up the cases.  There’s a lot of small operations with usable food that doesn’t fit into the “big guys” scenario, like me two years ago after my 10 year anniversary party and this summer after my jazz series events.  With my OCD and my hate for waste, I knew to put the left overs into pans I didn’t need back and took it over to my local homeless shelter (Northside Common Ministries location).  Giselle and team  developed an app that if say I’m on the Northside and driving to West Mifflin to pick up my coffee, I can enter my start and finish locations into the app and they will respond with there’s a pan of lasagna in Southside and it’s wanted in Baldwin (on my way).  There’s an article in the Shadyside magazine Shady Ave about 412 Food Rescue.  They have about 4,000 volunteers signed up and about 600 non profits that accept the food donations.  Not only does the app hook up drivers with food to be picked up and where dropped off, it also offers navigation aids.  412 Food Rescue made 18,000 deliveries in it’s first three years and expect that to be their total for this year alone!  412 Food Rescue has started a food education program teaching recipients how to properly prepare healthy meals with food provided.  They have also started a program Hidden Harvest that volunteers pluck food from city trees & shrubs on city property and back yards that product more food than the owner can use (you can donate here as well).  They have also partnered with Penns Corner Farm Alliance in Lawrenceville to create a program to use up unattractive, yet nutritious food.

Besides the Victorian House tour and the Alternative Victorian House tour, there are other seasonal activities going on at The Parador, all decorated the decorations are all pretty much the same, I did find an addition to my snow village this summer at a thrift store for $4:

It’s the middle house, kind of large and it’s all clear and lights up nicely at nite.   It looks a little blurry in the picture, but not in real life, I guess I need to hone my photography skills.  🙂


Another tweak I’ve made is I’ve had this silver lame for years and never thought of what to do with it.  This year I spread it under my Caribbean tree and it really reflects the lights nicely.

For those of you that have not been here over the holidays, note the star on the top of the tree is actually a star fish and the red garland around the tree is real fish netting I got, cut into strips and painted red.

And one other holiday thing, my cards should be hitting the streets any day, they are finished and just waiting for the printer to put them in the mail.

Keep warm and cheerful on this cold and dreary day,





First of all, I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and have a lot to be Thankful for.

Dee resigned a couple of weeks ago, she took a position at a nursing home, I think she will do well there.  After watching her with Betty in her last few weeks, Dee definitely has a bedside manner.  I’ve been encouraging her to work on a nursing degree, I will not be around forever.  This new place has a tuition reimbursement program and that should work well for her.

The reason I brought this up is usually this time of year, we would have our assigned duties.  So this year I’m doing it all cleaning and decorating for Christmas.  I always cleaned and paste waxed the first floor she would do the dining room chandeliers.  (I always did the Murano in the parlor.) I cleaned the crystal chandelier over the main dining room table for the first time in a number of years and wow, what a spectacular piece it is.

The chandelier is Waterford crystal.  I’ve seen the name etched int the tongue that holds the round ball on the bottom.  While polishing the crystals I noticed Waterford is also etched in many of the crystals as well.  The reason I bring this up is my thankfulness.  What a lucky man I am to have such a spectacular property and furnishings.  And to own such a successful bed and breakfast.  Sales has not been particularly stunning this year, but something I can handle and still keep up with the maintenance items that need my attention.   Usually, this time of year, I’d have Dee do all the housekeeping and I’d do small projects, saving the big projects till January/February.  This year I am just doing the breakfasts, housekeeping, maintenance and some very minor projects.  I’m OK with that.  I always push the admin things to last and this year it’s even getting worse.  I hate sitting on my butt in the office.  🙂

Speaking of being thankful, I am making progress with the nasty neighborhood association that threatened to sue me over my exterior colors (if you don’t know the story behind that, ask me next time you see me-it’s pretty funny-again I am a lucky man).  The coffee/tea shop opening across the street from me has a much more vivid teal on it’s exterior trim than mine that had them so upset.  Also, I remember blogging about them refusing to give a $1,000 request to the food pantry in the height of the recession when the food pantry shelves were bear.  When it was my turn to talk, I expressed my opinion that “in my world little kids should not go to bed hungry and I don’t know what world you guys live in”.  (They made around $60,000 on their Victorian Christmas House Tour that year and couldn’t give $1,000 to feed kids?!!!!!)  And if you know me, it don’t let things rest, I have whined about this repeatedly.  For years, they did not want me on their Victorian Christmas Tour because my tropical theme was not “appropriate”.  This year, they don’t seem to have enough houses for the tour and several ladies in the neighborhood approached me about using my house for their tour.  And I stand corrected, Holly called me and when she told them what I said about how cheap they are the told her they donate to several charities now, for one the Commons Initiative, funds collected to restore the Commons Park, the oldest park in the city right down the street from me and they donate to two other charities.  My terms were $1,000 to the food pantry.  They countered with that they would set up a fund raising for the food pantry.  I said no, $1,000 or no Parador on the tour.  Look up stubborn in the dictionary and you might see a picture of me. 🙂  So what I am doing this year is hosting an Alternative Victorian House Tour.  $5 cash and I am opening my Inn for tours, all proceeds goes to the food pantry.  I am looking for volunteers to help with my tour.  I need someone to be a greater, some one just to sit in the main dining room to stop tourees from opening the pantry door, because the kidz could get out and cause bedlam.  Shifts are Friday 12/7 from 4 – 8, Saturday from 10 – 4 12/8 and then 5 -9.  If anyone is available, please call me at 412-508-6000 free parking in my lot.  🙂

Finally parents, check out the worst toys list.  Toys today generally are much safer than ever, but that doesn’t mean we can let our guard down.  It’s the holiday buying season, I refuse to go to stores or even drive on Black Friday.

Thanx and keep warm,



I’m a very fortunate person, I am a vet, but not one of combat action.  I never had to make the decision of whether to pull the trigger and kill another human being.  I’m a Vietnam era veteran and was never in that conflict.  As a remembrance for today, I ordered the movie Dunkirk and saved it for today.  Although today is officially Veterans Day, it is actually Armistice Day.  At 11 am on 11/11/18 Germany surrendered to the Allies.  It was such a relief for the world to end this massacre.  Unfortunately, most young people, patriotic or otherwise are unaware of World War I and the atrocities back then or even the original meaning of this “holiday”.  This war to end all wars was actually a failure in that just a few years later we had World War II and it wasn’t until after that that the Geneva Conventions were adopted.  The agreement commonly referred to as the Geneva Conventions is actually four treaties (some as early as 1929) that were rolled into one in 1949.  It seems after atrocities like those committed during major wars makes mankind think about fairness and civility.  So after the unbelievable treatment of prisoners of war and the use of unbelievable tactics like mustard gas and other unbelievable creations to win a war we take a step back and consider their use.  So mustard gas is no longer an acceptable means of winning a war.  Although it is generally recognized cluster bombs, napalm nuclear bombs and other chemical forms of killing other humans may not be codified in the Geneva Conventions, it is commonly held that these also are war atrocities.  I appreciate all the people that thank me for my service, but I would rather they seek ways to end this constant blood shed on our shared planet.  A friend of mine is in the National Guard and when e’s been in uniform when we’ve met for a drink or meal and it impresses me how many strangers buy us a drink or at least thank him for his service.  We think right, we just don’t seem to follow through.

Lets look at the positives, the thing I am most impressed with Dunkirk is the evacuation of 300,000 Allied soldiers stranded on Dunkirk beach by 800 civilian fishing boats, merchant vessels, pleasure boats that converged to save the soldiers from a certain massacre by the German army a few miles away if not evacuated.  As I am also most impressed with the civilians on 9/11 that stopped the aircraft from causing further destruction after the twin towers were destroyed.  The courage of these civilians should make you want to visit the Shanksville 9/11 memorial.

Finally, I am a big proponent of a mandatory 2 year term of service to be an American citizen (born or naturalized).  It could be the military, peace corps, VISA, job corps anything.  Maybe then we as Americans can learn civics and civil behavior?

Thank you for your service, military, first responders and others that put their lives on the line for us,



I would like to thank you folks that expressed distress at what happened in my home town last week.  No Mr. Commander in Tweet, we do not need armed guards outside and inside our schools, churches, temples and synagogues.  We need less guns in our society.  I agree, most deaths by guns is by a hand gun, but most mass murders are done with military style assault rifles.  You don’t need an ak 47 to go hunting and kill a deer, rabbit or squirrel.  We need government leaders that are willing to step up and defend our citizens by enacting sensible gun control laws.

Speaking of gun control, tomorrow is election day.  GO OUT AND VOTE!  I don’t care who you vote for (actually I do, but it’s like winning a thousand dollar lottery versus a hundred dollar lottery-I have a preference, but I’m happy either way-I don’t play the lottery by the way, it was just an example).  🙂    Thank god those annoying campaign commercials will be over by Wednesday.  How can you vote for someone that gets elected by lying about his/her opponent or lying about their accomplishments and positions on issues.  If they lie in their campaign, I’d say that pretty much sums up their honesty.  Some of the candidates have been caught in outright lies and then deny it.  Worse yet is the advertisements paid for by special interests and PACs and their negativity.  Connor Lamb is not running in my district and he has run a very positive campaign discussing the issues and not being all negative. But the democratic machine has run some pretty negative ads in his name.   Besides liking Mr. Lamb’s position on many items, I want him to win to hopefully set a new campaign standard.  Keith Rufthus  has been pretty negative in his personal campaign.  Add to this the republican machine’s negative ads and its a smear campaign (and he has never endorsed these smears).  I like Governor Wolf and he has had some negative ads, but not over the top like his opponent who threatened to stomp Governor’s face in with golf spikes.  To give Scott Wagner some credit, he is now running a campaign ad pushing acceptance of all citizens. We need a new law that before a political ad is aired, it needs a seal of approval by an independent agency like Fact Checker, that gives a rating like the movies get.

I hate OTA’s, On line Travel Agencies like Expedia, Travelocity, etc.  They charge a fee for rooms booked through their websites, which I would be OK with.  But (you knew a but was coming up) 🙂 .  They initially tried charging bed and breakfasts an outrageous 25% fee for bookings, none of us signed up with them.  Eventually, they dropped the fee to a less outrageous 15% booking fee.  (They charge the big box hotels a 10% fee, which sticks in my craw).  I refused to sign up with an OTA for years and then Google came out with a new requirement that bed and breakfasts need to be signed up with an OTA to prove that they are legitimate.  So I signed up with Booking.com because they supposedly are the largest OTA covering Europe.  I’ve complained to my Booking.com agent about their fee and was told it wasn’t excessive that it was justified with all they spend on advertising and website security.  I told her they don’t spend more than Visa does on advertising and security that charges me less than 3%.

My battle with the pigeons continues, I’m making progress though.  I was making progress, but not enough so I decided to up the anti again and went back to Dick’s  and was looking at BB gun rifles.  They would be more accurate than the hand gun and luckily an employee came up and asked if I needed help.  I explained I didn’t want to kill the pigeons, just hurt them and make them go away.  He said the power in a rifle would send the BB through the pigeon and thus kill them.  He suggested doing what he does and use a sling shot.  I have that oak tree in my yard and so lots of acorns.  When I use them as ammunition, they biodegrade in my yard instead of leaving plastic pellets or metal BB’s  littering my yard for ever.  It’s been pretty successful, frequently I don’t have any pigeons and just a few other times.

Been busy working on my holiday cards, Roy was over this weekend and took the picture and I’ve been working on the mailing list.  Going through 6,000 addresses takes some time.  I just finished. 🙂  Most of the deletions are bad addresses, probably past guests that have moved since visiting.  Some are mail carriers that send the card back as un-deliverable for whatever reason and that guest ends up with a “bad address” note in my data base.  I also delete foreign countries (other than Canada).  There’s also a fair amount of incorrect addresses I need to fix zip codes, cities, etc.  The final category is those I don’t want back like the ones that smoked in their guest room.

Have a great evening and remember to VOTE tomorrow,



Da gerl went to the vet this week to have her stitches removed.  Still no walks and limited movement and to her chagrin the vet said she needs to keep the cone on for another week, she was so bummed.  She cried in the car coming home.  ):


When I’m in the kitchen and can watch her, I leave it off.  When I go out or leave the kitchen for chores, she gets the cone. I take if off so she can eat comfortably.  One evening, I forgot to remove the cone and put the food down for them and she just looked up at me pitifully, “Dad take the cone off!”  🙂

My good friend Arlen, the owner of City Books right down the street from me, sent me an email two weeks ago telling me I had made it in Forbes, it was an article on Pittsburgh talked about attractions, restaurants and lodging in the city.  He mentioned three lodging options and I was the only one with a picture.  🙂

I think I hate fall more than winter, it’s the harbinger of things to come.  I took the elephant ears out last week and did a great job this year I might add.  It’s important to get as much dirt off the rhizomes as I can so I don’t tease the tubers and they start to grow.  The bins I put them in were pretty light this year, so I must have done a good job.  I took little blankets and tucked them in when I put them in the basement and told them good night and I’ll see you in the spring.  (Just kidding).  Also, I normally take all the vegetation out at the same time.  But you should leave some of it in so the bugs and winter birds have someplace to hide from predators and as a food source with any seeds left.  So this year, I am gradually removing items.  Leaving the banana plants makes the courtyard look less barren.

I’ve been feeding the song birds for several years now.  About six months ago some pigeon found out that there’s food in the courtyard, so she invited her friends to the feast.  I was having 15 – 20 pigeons in my yard.  Yes, I’m prejudiced pigeons have never done anything to harm me, I just don’t like them or want them in my yard.  So I started throwing tennis balls at them and they would scatter and come right back.  I decided to up my game and went out and bought a pellet gun.  $20, you get what you pay for in life, I could watch the pellets wobble and fall short of the pigeons, I then bought a BB gun that used a CO2 cartridge to shoot the BBs.  It worked OK, but again you get what you pay for in life and it wasn’t tremendously accurate.  One day, the pigeons were ignoring me and I walked down the brick sidewalk along the front of the carriage house and had the stance aiming for the pigeons (at 6 am) and some lady was walking up the street saw me aiming in the general direction of the street and screamed.  I told her not to worry, she’s not a pigeon.  Luckily she laughed.  I wasn’t making enough progress with the BB gun and decided I needed to up my game again.  I went back to Dicks and was looking at a BB rifle.  A young guy working there came up and asked if I needed help and I explained my problem, I didn’t want to kill the pigeons, just chase them away.  He said the rifle would send the BB right through the pigeon and kill it.  I don’t want to kill them, I just don’t want them in my yard.  He suggested a sling shot, he said that’s what he uses.  I have the oak tree in the courtyard and so I have plenty of acorns.  And that’s what I’ve been using and that seems to be working pretty good.  I have that obnoxious one that first discovered me, she’s pretty persistent and I guess it’s her boyfriend and another pigeon.  Generally these days I have less than five pigeons, if any.  Some days they don’t come by at all.

How about that horrendous massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue here in Pittsburgh?  I blame this hatefulness in our country on YOUR commander in tweet for his divisiveness rhetoric appealing to his base. His idiotic statements during the 2016 campaign that made no sense like he knows more about ISIS than the generals and other such idiotic statements drove me crazy (and still drives me crazy-I ignore most of it).  Then his ranting about a wall is why we have that caravan of peoples coming up from central America.  His hateful comments about sh*t hole African countries and ban on Muslim country visas and entry into our country has empowered these nut cases like Robert D. Bowers here in Pittsburgh in their twisted views on life.  I watched a fair amount of Kavanaugh’s nomination hearing.  With his tears, anger and other emotions, I felt I was watching a scene from the Apprentice.  Yo budd, this isn’t some TV series that needs higher ratings, this is my country and we deserve better.  You can be an idiot and in charge of the country (with checks and balances hopefully), but please stop this hateful divisiveness.  It’s bad enough how much your are degrading our environment and giving more and more money to the top 1%, but please stop making us hate each other.  My friend Peet corrected my description of DJT to his divisiveness, I trusted spell check and should have known better.   Damn after reading Peet’s comment, I think i could write a book here, what an idiot (not you Peet-but DJT).  I don’t want to degrade the “conservatives”, but we need to learn to understand people other than us.

I’m planning my winter trip to Florida, my normal person is not available to baby sit the kidz and mansion.  My blog automatically posts to Facebook and won’t put the dates in here.  Anyone interested in living in a mansion for two weeks with two adorable dogs?  My dates aren’t in concrete yet, if you are interested send me an email ed@theparadorinn.com

OK guys, that’s it for today, have a good one,



Da gerl had her surgery yesterday.  The surgeon was happy with the results, she seems pretty stressed out, I think it’s discomfort, not pain.  See her shaved leg.  When I picked her up, she confronted me because yesterday when I dropped her off, I told her it was a day spa.  This morning she said, Dad, that wasn’t no day spa!

10 days we go back to have the stitches removed and it’s still a 10 week recovery until her last appointment and final x-ray to ensure everything healed properly.  I guess I’m sleeping on the floor for the next couple of weeks to be sure she doesn’t get it in her head to jump up on the bed (and my big fear is that she would then jump down out of the bed).


Wish us luck,



It’s been a while, I’ve been super busy.  Dee hasn’t been here since late July and in addition to my normal, I’ve had to clean and refresh rooms.  The first two weekends were the worst serving 16 -18 for breakfast and then cleaning, refreshing and turning rooms for new guest to arrive.  I hired Nicole about two weeks ago and she’s doing fantastic.  Within a couple of days, she already knew the names of the rooms and which one it was.  She’s a natural cleaner and the rooms are sparkling.

I’ve come to a new insight, we are not red states/blue states, Democrats/Republicans, liberals/conservatives.  We are victims/entrepreneurs, well not actually entrepreneurs.  We are people that blame others for problems in our lives (victims) or we are people that see a problem and find a solution (entrepreneurs).  There are victims and entrepreneurs in all of the above categories.  I think if we focused on this instead of “He’s a Republican and so he’s wrong” or vice versa.  The question should be does he have a solution within his framework and does the solution work within my set of values?  Maybe I should change my set of values if his logic makes sense?

I probably have said in the past, but I love Halloween, it’s the non stress holiday.  No worries about cooking a turkey, buying great gifts, doing holiday cards, preparing a picnic.  You just throw up some decorations, buy some candy and that’s it.  No stress.  So here’s this year’s scary tree:

My OCD gets the best of me sometimes.  I would like to change my scary tree next year to be a Día de Muertos tree.  I’ve never seen Dia de Muertos ornaments that I could hang on a tree.  If anyone knows of a source, please let me know.  I would love to make them, but my hands are not steady enough to draw all those narrow lines.  Maybe I should start yoga to calm my nerves?  🙂

Here’s a cute small coconut I got last trip to Florida of a zombie (cute might not be the right word).    I have a hole series of small coconuts I decorated for a tree in the ballroom I use when I do a holiday party.  That might be a good winter project to change them all to Dia de Muertos coconuts.

I am currently in a battle, I’ve been feeding the song birds for several years now.  About six months ago, a pigeon, discovered there was food in my courtyard.  She invited her friends over and I was having 15 or more pigeons each day.  I started throwing tennis balls at them, they would fly away and immediately return.  After a month of this, I decided to up the anti.  I wanted to inflict some pain, I’m not about to kill them, I just don’t want them in my yard.  When I was young (6th grade) we moved from the city (Baldwin) out to the country (Finleyville to a house that had been empty for years).  My parents bought an old farm house, whose property dated back to a deed back when this area was part of Virginia, before Geogie Washington drew the straight line separating Pennsylvania from Virginia.  The farm house had been empty for years and we had a rodent problem.  My dad said something I thought at the time was pretty weird.  He said “Rats don’t live where rats aren’t wanted”.  I’m a firm believer in this now, I’ll tell you about the possum next.   So Mr. Cheap bought a pellet gun, it was cheap, $20 you get what you pay for in life, you don’t have to buy a Mercedes to get a good car, but if you buy a used care off one of those lots on the side of the road, unless you’re a mechanic, you’re taking your chances.  I could watch the pellet waver towards the pigeons.  So after a week, I invested in a BB gun, it uses a CO2 cartridge, so it produces a report.  I’ve been using this for about 2 weeks.  It pretty much works.  I’ve gotten several pigeons and they flounder around a bit.  I’m now down to about 4 or 5 at most, some mornings I don’t have any.  I usually shoot from right off the veranda, one morning they were ignoring me (and I was missing them), so I walked down the brick sidewalk in front of the carriage house and took my stand with the gun hand resting on my other hand (you’ve seen this on TV).  Some lady was walking up the sidewalk out front, saw me and screamed.  I told her she wasn’t a pigeon and it was just a BB gun, she laughed (luckily).  Pigeons don’t live where they aren’t wanted, I WILL WIN.  🙂

One morning last winter I came out of the kitchen and I thought I saw a possum between the shed and the carriage house.  I quickly closed the kitchen door to keep the kids from chasing it like they do the squirrels.  I was afraid it would bite or scratch them and they contract rabies.  I didn’t see it anymore, so I walked out to the shed and he was on the other side of the shed next to the wall.   I called 911 and when she asked for the address of the emergency, I told her no emergency but there’s a possum in my enclosed courtyard and I was afraid of my dogs contracting rabies and didn’t know who to call at 6 am.  She said not to worry about it, she would handle it.  20 minutes later animal control was at the door.  As I walked them back to my courtyard, I explained my concern about rabies.  The one guy said I didn’t need to worry about possum carrying rabies, because of their metabolism they can’t carry rabies, I knew that.  The possum was gone.  Animal control said they are climbers and it probably climbed over my wall to my neighbor’s yard or up the tree on the carriage house roof and into the alley way behind.  I didn’t see him for a couple of weeks, then one day he was out by my compost bin.  So I closed the kitchen door, rabies or no rabies I didn’t want da kidz battling a possum.  My closest weapon when I approached the possum was the pitch fork I use to turn my compost.  I banged it on the brick wall to scare him.  The possum ran down my yard along the wall towards the street.  He got as far at the banana tree and didn’t go any further.  I lifted one of the banana leaves and started banging the pitch fork on the wall to further scare him.  We were uncomfortably close (it’s a short pitch fork) 🙂 and he was snarling at me showing his teeth.  Rabies or no rabies, I didn’t want to get bit.  So I went up to the shed and got a long handled rake and started using that.  He’s still under there snarling at me.  Then I realized something.  His instinct must have been to escape along the wall and he couldn’t get past the banana trunk without exposing himself in the yard.and the brick wall, the banana trunk was right next to the wall.  So I left him came back later and he was gone.  I haven’t seen him since.  Dad, you were right rats (and possums) don’t live where they aren’t wanted.

Da gerl tore her other ACL and we go for the operation this Wednesday.  We’re old pros at this, we did it just last December.  Long story here, maybe deserves her own post soon.

Sold out tonight (Steeler home game) and I have some prep to do yet.

Have a good one,


What’s ya doing August 17 – 18?  Want to go to a summer camp for adults?  Troegs Independent Brewing Company is hosting a beer camp for adults in North Park.  Besides drinking beer, they are planning zip line with Go Ape and other tree top activities-careful how much your drink before climbing trees, kayaking and biking lead by Venture Outdoors, flag capture games, other activities include geocaching, other lawn games & crafts.  It is limited to 75 and the last camp they held in York County sold out.  The price is $75 for Friday (hours 1:30 -7), $95 for Saturday (hours 8:30 am – 2 pm and the afternoon hours) and $150 for both days.

Other activities you might be interested in presented by Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation include Saturdays from 3 – 5 pm Garfield’s murals including the famous The Bride of Penn Avenue, the Pittsburgh Glass Center and Silver Eye Photography.   Monday Tours include HH RIchardson’s old Allegheny County Jail  from 11:30 to 1 pm, court holiday Mondays are excluded.  Wednesdays tour is hours 6 – 7:30 pm of East Carson Street commercial street and residential side streets (a safe time to visit since the college kids don’t descend until after 10 pm for the bar scene).  Thursday’s tour is of historically significant architectural landmarks interior and exterior spaces Downtown from 9:45 t- 12:15.  Fridays tour Oakland  the Carnegie Museums out there, the Cathedral of Learning, Carnegie Library, Frick Fine Arts Building, and Heinz Chapel, hours are 10 – 11 am.  Prices and details are at PHL website.

Allegheny County is in the process of restoring The Cascades pool in South Park originally designed by Paul B. Riis, a Swiss-​born landscape architect who worked for the Allegheny County Park system from 1927 – 32.   What a cool way to cool off the Cascades was a pool designed to be a pool, wading pools and water falls all with a natural look.  The stone were all recovered during South Parks creation in the 1930’s.  Early recycling?  🙂  I’ve heard for years they were thinking of putting it back in and now I hear they are actually working on it.

May I be a bit negative?  I wish Christian Cassotis would go back to Florida or Georgia, where ever the airport authority found her.  She’s been pushing since she came here to revamp the airport at a tune of $1B!  We haven’t paid off the last brainchild of the airport authority that designed the airport to serve as USAir’s hub.  Granted, she has brought more flights in recently than the airport’s had in years, many are significantly subsidized.  I don’t like offering a Qatar company a half million dollars to flight freight in but when we start talking a BILLION dollars, I need to step up and holler.  Yes, there are way too many gates that waste resources like heating, cooling , lights security, etc.  But tearing down the landside terminal, building new structures at a cost she is now saying will exceed the BILLION dollar initial estimate.  There has to be a more cost effective way to modernize the facility.

Pittsburgh’s oldest makerspace HackPGH is doing well, they are expanding.  For just $50 a month ($30 for students, seniors and vets) you have access to the many tools they have in their workshop.  Located in an alley behind 5th Avenue in the Updown section of the city, it’s in an old garage and are taking over an adjacent space to expand.  Chad Elish, the founder, has all kinds of wood working tools, metal working tools, laser cutting, 3-D printing and other skills.  A great part of the program is when you are in the shop with others that can guide you with their experience in learning new tricks to whatever you are trying to make.

I just re-painted the gecko swing yesterday and was thinking about a mutual friend of Kerry & myself made for me.  Dino moved back to Minnesota and when he returned, I put him and Layne up in one of my guest rooms in my Lake Worth, FL bed and breakfast and since he was such a good friend, I wouldn’t take any money while they looked for permanent housing.  So they made the gecko swing for me.  Each time I paint it, I marvel at the detail they incorporated into it:

His tail is curled up on the bottom, his back leg is across from where your thigh would be on the swing, the arm rest is his front paws, his head is next to where your head would be and see the scales going up his back.

I took da kidz out to Raccoon State Park today, they had a ball.  We even got hollered at by a park ranger.  I picked an unused picnic area and left them off leash.  A ranger pulled over and told me they weren’t allowed off leash.  I clapped my hands, my good kidz came running over to the truck and immediately sat down.  The ranger commented on how good they were and told me he was just giving me a warning.  He smiled and drove off.

It’s been a rough day and I had started this blog two days ago (I had to delete the post about the scuba diving event at the zoo this weekend, since it’s already Saturday.  It looked like a fun time, if your quick, they are also holding it tomorrow.  I’m going to feed my good kidz and enjoy my front porch and do my crossword puzzle.  Have a good weekend,



September 8 they are dedicating the Tower of Voices at the Flight 93 Memorial in Somerset.    It’s an awesome looking structure and has 40 individual wind chimes dedicated to each of the 40 heroes that gave up their lives to save other lives.  Each wind chime has it’s own dedicated tone so it’s like all 40 heroes are talking.  The great final installment to this great memorial.  If you follow the link, be sure to scroll to the bottom to hear the architect’s vision of what the chimes should sound like.   I look forward to hearing the chimes with the wind deciding on the tunes.

Supposedly I have a new feature on my phones to cut out those incessant robo calls, it’s a shame they don’t have one of those to screen regular telemarketers.  When you call the Inn or my personal phone, my voice instructs you to push 1 to talk to me.  Robo calls don’t have fingers and can’t push 1.  🙂

The Parador is reducing it’s carbon foot print even further.  I’ve always had bottled water in the pantry for guests, those thin plastic bottles are not recyclable.  So I installed a water cooler.  And I have small recyclable plastic cups sitting on it.  Besides cold water, it also dispenses hot water.  I have the coffee makers in the guest rooms, but after brewing coffee, there’s always residual coffee oils in the pot and basket that effects the taste of tea.  So I’m killing two bird with one stone.

I replaced that old refrigerator in the pantry that was using about $35 of energy each month with a new much more efficient one that uses the electricity of a 40 watt light bulb.  With moving to just about all LED bulbs and the new windows and other projects I’ve done, my electric bill has dropped from around $1,700 a month with the AC to just over $500.  🙂

I saw Mark last week, he owns Blue Wave Auto Spa on McKnight Road.  I’ve taken my car and before truck to him for mechanical work for years.  Mark, his wife and Chris the mechanic that usually works on my vehicles all came to my 10 year anniversary two years ago.  Mark’s been battling cancer for about a year now.  He’s looked kind of rough for the past several months going through chemo.  I saw him last week and wow does he look better.  I told him and he thanked me for noticing.  We had never discussed his cancer, it was just obvious.  Speaking of cancer Carol & her husband just checked out, when she arrived she was wearing one of those head scarfs to hide her thin hair.  At registration, she was comfortable enough with me that she took the scarf off and we discussed her cancer.  She’s doing well and finished her last chemo and this was their celebration trip from Maryland (not too far, but far enough that it felt like a real get away).  While we are discussing cancer, my sister Sue had her last chemo yesterday.  She also would wear  scarfs to cover her thin or no hair.  Luckily for me, I have not battled cancer and am bald anyway.  If I was going through cancer, I would not wear a scarf, even if I normally had hair.  I think you cancer battlers should not wear scarves and show off you lack of hair as a badge of honor.  Having cancer is not something to be ashamed of and the hair issue should be a badge of courage.   Mark, Carol and Sue have shown in their battles this is something to admire.

Yesterday all day when walking back and forth between the courtyard & office and the kitchen I kept hearing a bird chirping along the brick walk way in front of the carriage house. I’m looking up thinking birds were building a nest up above.  Finally late afternoon, I stopped when I heard it and paid closer attention.  You know those terracotta chimney pots I have outside Ruellia’s door.  Some stupid baby robin must have flown and landed on the lip and fell in and couldn’t fly back out and was calling for help.  I had become suspicious because I kept seeing a female robin obsessing in the area pacing back and forth.  So I aimed a flashlight in the dark space and there was this large baby down there.  I picked up the terracotta pipe freeing her and she never said thank you, the rude SOB.  🙂  She was in the chimney pot on the left:

And finally for today, the National Aviary just opened the newly renovated Tropical Rain Forest room, this includes a 15 foot waterfall, all the glass has been replaced with a special non reflective bird glass so birds don’t try and fly into it and predator birds on the outside can’t see in it also lets bird beneficial UV light in.  I stopped by today to pick up more tickets from my contact Audrey who took me over to see it, but they were still hosting their press photo op and I passed.  Audrey invited me back anytime to see it.  What I saw was impressive.  Also, they moved my buddy the old guy sloth from his glass cage by the rear entrance into the Rain Forest.  Audrey says he should be happy with his new digs and hanging out with the other Rain Forest natives.


That’s it for today guys, have a great weekend,